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Full text of "A story about a real man"

A STORY ABOUT A REAL MAN                                                                      *^
through the clumps of weeds, preening a0d splashing
themselves, swam a couple of snow-white, red-beaked
geese.
The injured man was carried to a cottage with a Red
Cross flag. Then the truck drove through the village aed
stopped at the neat little building of the village school.
From the numerous wires that ran into the broken win-
dow, and the sentry standing on the porch armed with a
submachine-gun, one could guess that this was staff head-
quarters.
"I want to see the Wing Commander," said the senior
lieutenant to the orderly, who was sitting at the open
window solving a cross-word puzzle in a magazine.
The youth, who had followed at the heels of the senior
lieutenant, noticed that on entering the building the latter
had mechanically straightened the front of his tunic, ad-
justed its folds under his belt with his thumbs and had
buttoned his collar. He forthwith did the same. He had
taken a great liking to his taciturn companion and now
tried to copy him in all things.
"The colonel is busy," answered the orderly.
"Tell him that I have an urgent dispatch from the Per-
sonnel Department of Air Force Staff Headquarters."
"You'll have to wait. He is with the air reconnaissance
crew. He said he was not to be interrupted. Go out and
sit in the garden for a bit."
The orderly again became engrossed in the cross-word
puzzle. The new arrivals went into the garden and sat
down on an old bench next to a flower-bed, which had
been carefully bordered with bricks but was now neglected
and overgrown with grass. Before the war, on quiet sum-
mer afternoons like this, the old village school-teacher
must have rested here after her day's work. Two voices
were distinctly heard coming from the open windows.
One, hoarse and excited, was reporting:
"Along this road and this one, ieadtag to Bol&faoye
Gorokhovo and the Krestovozdvizhensky dniitiiyard,
there is considerable movement, continuous colnsaas of
trucks, all going in one direction—to the frost Hare*
right near the churchyard, in a hollow, tliere are trucks,
or tanks,... I suppose a big unit is being omoeafxatedJ*
"What makes you think so?" interrupted a tenor wiee.
19^1*72